Today, we break down how to remember all the details you need to know for the MCAT & study strategies you can use to do so.
Listen to this podcast episode with the player above, or keep reading for the highlights and takeaway points.
[02:48] A Critical Thinking Test
The MCAT is a critical thinking analysis test that’s built on top of this core foundation of science for a lot of the passages. Hunter adds that it’s not enough just to have things memorized because you have to do critical reasoning with it.'While the MCAT is a critical thinking test, there's a lot to know before you can start critically thinking about what you know.'Click To Tweet
A lot of students who are studying for the MCAT never really had to study very much in high school or undergraduate. And so, they haven’t developed the study skills.
Then compound that with the MCAT, which is unlike any undergraduate exam these students have encountered. Since they are used to more of the “memorize, regurgitate, not too much critical thinking” stuff.
[09:02] Make Things Memorable
Our brains only want to learn things that it cares about. It only likes to learn things pertinent to that brain’s existence. Hence, find a way to make any of the content memorable to you.'If you can make them funny, or memorable or whatever, like all the better, you will remember the information so much easier.'Click To Tweet
Hunter points out that the problem with mnemonics is when you are looking up a sheet of mnemonics, it almost turns into this other piece of content that you have to memorize.
Instead, Hunter suggests making your own mnemonics that are pertinent or funny to you. That way, it’s much easier to remember.
[18:40] Understanding Concepts'The best way to remember something is by actively doing it.'Click To Tweet
There are so many different ways to memorize information. Aside from making your own mnemonics, you can relate things back to your experience. Hunter stresses conceptual understanding over just pure content memorization.
For example, when studying fluid dynamics, think about a garden hose. Cover half of the hose with your thumb, and the speed of water coming out goes faster. That’s a good way to study and remember the continuity equation which is A1V1=A2V2. You decrease the cross-sectional area of your pipe or your tube and the velocity has to increase in order to compensate.
Hence, the more you can make it a natural, intuitive understanding of the concepts, the easier it is to remember, memorize, and retain memory retention.
[22:00] Where to Start
Hunter recommends starting with personalized. Blueprint’s MCAT Flashcards come with Spaced Repetition which is a great way to study. And you can build your own flashcards, too!'Spaced repetition and flashcards are a really good place to start if you just want to start memorizing your content.'Click To Tweet
There’s a lot that you have to know for the MCAT, even though it is a critical thinking test. To cram all that stuff into your head, make it as personal as possible to tie in with stories.
As human beings, our brains are wired to understand stories and to remember stories, because that’s how we’ve always passed down information over time. And so the stories you’re telling yourself to remember physics equations or whatever else is the same principle.
Finally, if you’re struggling to memorize or remember a certain thing, don’t let it beat you up, because maybe you’re just using a great tool for the wrong job. Figure out the way that your brain wants to do it and dive into that way and try to make it personalized.